Former Boy Scouts official arrested on child porn charges

Dec 3 2012 - 2:02pm

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- A former Boy Scouts executive facing child pornography charges kept written notes about his physical attraction to boys who he had access to and interaction with through his job, a federal prosecutor said.

Ryan C. Bieler, 33, of Ireland, Ind., has been charged with receiving and possessing child pornography after a two-year investigation of a foreign movie company that federal officials say made and distributed the materials worldwide.
Bieler is formerly a senior district executive for the Boy Scouts' Buffalo Trace Council. He is accused of purchasing child pornography from a company located outside the United States.

At the time his house was searched and he was arrested on Nov. 8, Bieler was employed by the council, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Nov. 27.

John Harding, scout executive for the council, said Bieler's employment and membership in Boy Scouts were terminated on Nov. 9. He said Bieler primarily worked with adults, such as troop leaders.

Joe Hogsett, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, said in a news conference that on Nov. 8, law enforcement officials searched Bieler's house and reported finding DVDs and CDs with child pornography on them, including DVDs purchased from the international movie company.

"Many of these discs allegedly depict minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct," he said.

Law enforcement officers also found more images and movies of child pornography on Bieler's computer, Hogsett said.

He said that during an interview with law enforcement, Bieler admitted to downloading and purchasing the materials and said he had a sexual interest in minor girls and boys.
However, according to the criminal complaint, "The material examined by investigators demonstrated a strong interest in material involving sexual acts and sexual poses involving minor boys."

The complaint also said investigators found written materials in Bieler's house in which he described his physical attraction to particular boys he has had access to and interaction with.

Hogsett said the Boy Scouts of America are cooperating "fully" with federal law enforcement in their efforts.

Harding said the council is in the process of notifying parents about Bieler's arrest but that there was no evidence there were any local victims.

"There is no evidence that indicated that any Indiana youths have been impacted by Mr. Bieler in a negative way," Harding said. "He was not in direct contact with any children. His primary job was working with adults."

He said Scout officials were shocked to learn about the charges against Bieler.

Harding said Boy Scouts have a five-point comprehensive youth protection program that includes education, specific barriers to abuse and prompt mandatory reporting of improper behavior, as well as criminal and other background checks for leaders and the swift removal and mandatory reporting of alleged offenders.

Hogsett said Bieler's arrest was just the beginning of the investigation and law enforcement officers are still looking into whether there were local victims because of the written materials found in the home.

Bieler could face up to 10 years in prison for the count of possession of child pornography, and up to 20 years for the count of receiving child pornography, as well as substantial fines if he is found guilty. Bieler is in federal custody and formal charges are expected to be filed in coming weeks. Additional charges could be added at that time, Hogsett said. A trial date has not been set.

(Contact Mark Wilson of The Evansville Courier in Indiana at WilsonMcourierpress.com.)

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